The Antonov An-148 regional jet’s debut at the Moscow air show was accompanied by order announcements from Cubana, KrasAir, Polet and Pulkovo Airlines.

All four carriers signed 15-year financial lease agreements with Ilyushin-Finance for the Russo-Ukrainian aircraft. Pulkovo placed a firm order for eight standard An-148-100Bs, plus 10 options, firming up a letter of intent signed in January. Polet signed for 20 An-148s – the largest order for the type so far. Of these, 15 will be -100Bs and five An-148T freighters.

KrasAir, which had already ordered 10 aircraft and taken five options, committed to take one of the two An-148 flying prototypes built by the Antonov design bureau’s experimental aircraft factory in Kiev. Before going to KrasAir after completion of certification trials in April 2006, the second prototype will be reconfigured as a corporate jet. Designated the An-148VIP, it will be configured for 18 passengers. KrasAir intends to use it jointly with Ilyushin-Finance corporate airline IFK-Jets.

Cubana has become the first non-Russian customer to order the An-148 with a deal for three An-148-100Bs. During the air show Volga-Dnepr announced its intention to acquire three An-148-100B passenger aircraft, three An-148-100C freighters equipped with side cargo doors and two An-148T ramp freighters. Volga-Dnepr chairman Alexei Isaikin says a firm contract with Ilyushin-Finance will be signed by the end of the year. Isaikin says the carrier wants the aircraft to be able to carry standard Boeing 757-compatible cargo pallets.

Source: Flight International